I started in this business around the end of 1997. Back then, TGPs were still a new thing and Cozy Frog was just a gleam.
I’m not a big fan of if-you-could-go-back-in-time questions. In fact, I hate them because nobody can go back in time and I just don’t see the point in dwelling on a past that can’t be changed. Absolutely, we should examine the choices and mistakes we’ve made so that we don’t repeat our failures. But when people start suggesting that I jump into some imaginary time machine so that I can alter my past and, as a result, my future, I won’t do it. It’s a colossal waste of time and imagination.
|"Surfers have memories like fish - new thoughts push out the old ones and if you don’t keep shaking the jingley keys in front of their faces, they’ll forget about you."|
If I’m going to fantasize about possible outcomes I’d much rather ruminate on outcomes where I can have an actual affect - possible futures, so to speak. For example:
"If I were a newbie today, knowing what I know, what would I do to make money as an adult webmaster?"
I know. I see the flaw. If I were really a newbie, then I wouldn’t know what I already know. I would be just as blind as every other adult Internet newbie and undoubtedly even cockier than I was when I was a newb.
While I won’t entertain pretending to change my past, I certainly remember how convinced I was that I knew better than everyone did. I was going to "revolutionize the business" and it took me a good long time to get over myself and learn to listen to others.
I guess that’s number one on the list of things I would do if I were a newbie today:
1. Get over myself and listen to people that are already making money in this biz.
This might seem like such simple advice but it took me well over two years for the concept to penetrate my thick skull.
What else would I do? Well, I would:
2. Register a domain name and buy some fucking hosting.
I won’t say how long it took me to jump into the domain/paid hosting thing, I'm so embarrassed. Suffice it to say, I waited too damned long. There’s no excuse for waiting today. Free hosts are bullshit for people that want to make money and that’s just a fact. Go fork out the ten bucks to register a domain and pay the $5.00-$10.00 it costs to open a beginner web hosting account.
Next, I would:
3. Install Word Press and start a blog.
People had online journals run from rudimentary versions of modern blog software in the late 1990s and (don’t tell anybody) if I really could go back in time, I would have started blogging a lot sooner. I would have opened an adult-themed blog and made it my hub.
I know that you think that blogs are kind of old hat and that social networking portals like Facebook are where the action is but Facebook doesn’t want our business. It’s much better to own your own social networking portal and when you enhance software like Word Press, you’ve got a pretty powerful CMS on your hands. You can make your site as vast or as intimate as you like, depending on your specific array of plugins.
Lastly, I would:
4. Work hard and be consistent.
I hate to sound like a broken record but that really is the key to success - hard work over a lengthy amount of time. If you’re going to make and submit mini free sites, then don’t do it few times and then blow it off for a couple of months. If you’re going to open a blog, post every single day, the more daily posts the better. If you promise to add a daily gallery to your main site, then add a daily gallery. Surfers have memories like fish - new thoughts push out the old ones and if you don’t keep shaking the jingley keys in front of their faces, they’ll forget about you.
There’s other stuff I would do like take full-throated advantage of the vast amounts of sponsor created/hosted content out there. Back in '97 all we got were a few shitty banners and full-size images that had to be placed on HTML pages.
Most of all, I would pay attention to item number one and listen to my fellow webmasters on the boards and in the trade articles. No, they’re not going to tell you the super-duper secret to everything because frankly, there isn’t one. It’s all about elbow grease and dependability.
You can’t go back in time to get a head start. I can’t change the mistakes I’ve made. What we can both do is make better choices now so that our futures will be amazing.